At the gym on Monday, I looked around the room and realized that I was one of the heaviest people in the room. At my old gym (the local Y), I was usually one of the fittest people in the room. As I failed around during Les Mills’ Body Attack, I felt out of place. Even though sure, I was also wearing glitzy athletic clothes, my short hair was scrunched back into a pathetic tiny ponytail, my jazz hands were going up when everybody else’s went down, and I don’t have perfect skin. I’m not particularly tan, and I have a mean bike-shorts tan line on my legs.
This, I realized, is the gym environment that heavy people talk about when they talk about being embarrassed to go to the gym. I always thought that everybody should be proud to go to the gym, because well, at least you’re there. But as I jumped around, feeling humiliated over my lack of grace, I understood. Nobody should be constantly worried about how they look, whether their belly flab is jiggling too much, when they are just trying to get in a good workout. And I was very concerned with that on Monday.
This gym is a gym that costs around $60-80 a month, it’s downtown, and it’s designed to keep out the riff raff. It makes me uncomfortable, but so did the local Y with the bandaids that were always on the floor of the pool, the bathroom floor that was always flooded, and the toilet seats and paper that were sopping wet.
Is there a gym for the fabulously average fitnessista? Because I would like to go there. Somewhere where everybody isn’t in their early twenties, trying desperately to look good naked. Because at the local Y, when I saw an average joe come in and sweat through their very first spin class, or an older woman come in and try yoga, or saw high school students swimming laps after school, I felt inspired. I felt like if they were getting up and going to the gym every day, so should I. I felt like none of them were judging me. In the yuppie, glitzy gym, I wanted to go home and hide out in the safety of my treadmill and my 30-day Shred videos.
But the problem is, at the old gym, the classes weren’t really challenging enough, the instructors were a little too impressed that I could do squats, and again, the band-aids in the pool. Plus it was a 20-minute drive from my house. So I’m still searching for the middle-ground gym, where I feel comfortable being myself, inspired by my fellow workout buddies, but also pushed to try my hardest.
Do you have a middle-ground gym? What has your gym-going experience been like?